The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

Episode 9 – Look for the Light

March 29, 2023

The finale of “The Last of Us” starts with a flashback. It follows a panicked, pregnant mother who is being chased by an infected while going into labor. The mother breaks into a seemingly abandoned Fireflies compound but is eventually overwhelmed by the infected as she gives birth. The baby is revealed to be Ellie. 

While the game never explains how Ellie is immune to the virus, the television series explains why Ellie is so special and why she would later be immune. Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies, then finds the mother and daughter, taking on the role of Ellie’s guardian, and she is forced to kill the soon-to-be-fully-infected mother. 

Joel and Ellie eventually make it to the Fireflies, successful in their mission. ”

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

The episode then cuts back to the present, when Joel and Ellie arrive at Salt Lake City. They end up spotting some giraffes that have escaped from the zoo and enjoy looking at the animals. Joel and Ellie have both finally opened up to one another, and it shows in the way they converse with each other. Joel and Ellie eventually make it to the Fireflies, successful in their mission. 

Marlene separates them, as tests are being conducted on Ellie. Marlene later talks to Joel, but the way she responds to his questions about Ellie is not to his liking and he starts demanding to see her. Marlene then reveals that they need to do an extremely high-risk operation on Ellie to get a vaccination for the uninfected. 

Marlene attempts to have Joel escorted out of the building, but Joel is enraged and kills the escort before rampaging through the building to free Ellie. He reaches the operating room and kills the doctor before encountering Marlene one last time and killing her as well. Joel saves Ellie and drives them away in a truck. 

Joel decides to keep the truth hidden and does not tell her what he did in the hospital.”

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

Ellie asks what happened in the hospital because she has some doubts about the events that took place. Joel decides to keep the truth hidden and does not tell her what he did in the hospital. The series ends on this note.

While the television series made choices with how it deviated from its source material, some changes were overall beneficial to the franchise, while others will be forgotten. Changes like additional information or hyped-up horror elements increased the quality of the show and made it more enjoyable to watch, but other changes tarnished the series through sidetracking the story or adding pointless character traits.

While some episodes of the series could be completely skipped out of irrelevance to the overall plot and source material, such as episodes 3 and 7, the episodes that do attempt to follow the game’s basic plotline are worth watching, notably episodes 2 and 8. 

The best episodes were the ones that followed the game’s story closely, with the more experimental episodes amounting to nothing more than being filler.

This mix of episodes, some following the game intensely while others ignored the source material, sometimes followed right after each other, giving the impression that this show was managed by two separate directors, which it was. 

The show fell short of the game’s greatness.”

— Staff Writer Ashton Lewandowski

The overall lack of zombies in this show, which is supposed to be about zombies, occurred in the experimental episodes, and killed any tension or fear one might have when watching. For example, when a main character is allowed to spend an entire episode making reckless decisions, such as sneaking out, underage drinking, and turning an entire mall’s lights and electricity on during the night in the middle of an apocalyptic zombie-infested city right next to a fascist military base, and only a single zombie shows up throughout the entire episode, the plot needs to be changed.

Some of the episodes jump at every opportunity to follow any irrelevant side characters for entire episodes instead of focusing on the relationship and survival of the main two characters. This is contrary to the game, and repels emotional investment into Joel and Ellie. 

When the show does end up showing the two main characters conflicting with each other, instead of resolving the conflict in normal human ways, a character will just change fundamental beliefs at a whim, almost magically, in an effort to rush the plot forward and give the illusion of character growth. An example of this is when Joel arbitrarily decides to stay with Ellie after telling her a scene prior that he was not going to for her own sake in Episode 6.

The show could have been far better if it had just followed the video game it is based on more closely. All the creators had to do was pay actors to act the cutscenes out and follow what the player does in the game. The show fell short of the game’s greatness.

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